Shanghai Tang-esque

Finally got around to putting these up!! Two months ago, I got to work with the superbly talented Jun Bin (@hoju_) and we created some Shanghai Tang magic (mostly him tbh)! I loved that we spent the whole morning exploring the grounds of Sentosa and finding hidden gates and openings. It’s the whimsical, storybook sort of adventure I am always enamoured with, the kind that encapsulates limitless time I never seem to have enough of nowadays.

This set completely emulates vacation vibes we all need and embraces the tropical year-long summer Singapore never seems to tires of. The white linen shirt will always be one of the most versatile pieces in my closet. From smart casual, to business formal, to vacation worthy wear, it runs the gamut.

I have this one in a silky material that I got off a street from Bangkok. It’s great worn alone in the face of heat and humidity, or with a coat or a cardigan for a more mellow, formal look. I like to play it down with a pair of printed shorts – the ones I have here are constructed out of batik by my grandma.

Enjoy the visuals – huge shoutout to Jun Bin!!!

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Golden State

Shoutout to Zhikuan for helping me shoot this! He is so so talented at this and I’m so stoked to be able to work with him on this!! The weather was blisteringly hot and yet we trudged around Cityhall all the way to Clarke Quay talking and taking photos. We set about looking for dreamy places to shoot and I am loving my really long holiday (NOT loving adult priced transport fares) because it means hours of wandering and wide-eyed exploration.

I recently purchased the most indulgent crushed velvet skirt in this beautiful golden shade online. Velvet has blown up everywhere recently, but if not worn right one may either look painfully gaudy, or like a massive piano cover. I decided to give it a shot in the form of a favourite, the midi skirt. Also, I was very excited that this came in crushed velvet because crushed velvet reflects light magnificently in a seemingly random manner, making the material of the skirt seem ‘crushed’. But so much velvet can seem excessive when one is travelling on the train/subway and is getting strange looks from people. Thankfully enduring a good dose of feeling self-conscious did not come to naught when I received the photos from ZhiKuan!!!

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We explored CHIJMES and Victoria Concert Hall, both in the vicinity of Cityhall. Both historic buildings are gorgeous, and both reflect different influences and styles of the past through their stunning architecture. The Gothic style building of CHIJMES is rich in heritage, once a Catholic convent established by nuns from France. The complex has now been preserved and you’ll still see pillars with intricate markings and dreamy spiral staircases around the compound. There’s also quiet, quaint lawn in the complex amongst the buildings and restaurants, just perfect for soaking up some sun or having a picnic.

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The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is also a national monument, but different in style and grandeur compared to CHIJMES. The neoclassical compound had only reopened two years ago after renovation and restoration works and is now every minimalist’s dream. Once a town hall and even a makeshift hospital for bomb raid victims during World War Two, the building now primarily hosts a wide array of concerts and events supporting the arts in Singapore. Even if you’re not here for an event, the complex is open to the public. It is calm and quiet inside, the floors are tiled with swirly pristine marble, and the building has airy, high ceilings.

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Once again big shoutout to the superb ZhiKuan!!

Thoughts On Humidity, Perfect Summer Days and Happy Songs

I truly despise the humidity because the beautiful bouncy curls I had before I left the house would disappear the instant I step out onto the streets and also any makeup I put on would melt straight away so I haven’t bothered with much (#loveyourflaws #firstworldproblems #ijustifiedmylaziness). I apologise for the real lack of posts due to my exams but I’m so excited to be back here writing on this platform again! Recently I’ve been so flooded with uni apps and interviews but I think it’s thrilling to open up to so the sheer number of possibilities and opportunities. Talking to my friends who are already in university has also made me more motivated to not mess around with my apps and I’m honestly quite pumped with all that’s going to happen next year!

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The weather looked quite lovely outside today so Winna agreed to pop by Thomson to help me shoot and grab an iced coffee while we’re at it. Shoutout to Winna because we were both absolutely melting under the intense heat and it’s always such a blast to spend time with her because we would spend the bus ride reminiscing about people and trading funny stories from the past. Also I really love this outfit because Winna got this top for a few dollars off the streets of BangKok and I got the greatest metallic skirt for only a few bucks off Taobao. Style does not have to cost a bomb!!! The days have been passing by in sleep soaked bliss and Winna, Wil and I would lie around the house playing the guitar, sing, read (mostly me), glug ungodly amounts of coffee milk like it’s ambrosia (also mostly me) and watch television. I think when the past few weeks flew by in such tiring, hurling chaos it’s sweet relief having unplanned days and spontaneous adventures of exploring and taking photos.

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Since this is sort of a life update post I thought I would also share with you guys some songs from my happy playlist that have gotten me by the past few weeks when I was doing my exams. I don’t know the words to most of them and I choose to not know them just so that I wouldn’t be distracted and start singing along while doing work/revising. Here are some of my favourites:

  1. Take Me Out, Golden State
  2. Pumping Blood, Sara James
  3. Different Kind of Love, Kid Runner
  4. Crazy For You, Hedley
  5. We Built This City, Starship
  6. This Girl, Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners
  7. Fire To The Floor, Sezairi
  8. Something In The Way You Move, Ellie Goulding
  9. Ex’s & Oh’s, Elle King
  10. Toothbrush, DNCE

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Happy listening!!

Good Vibes

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I’m so excited to be working with Girl’s Girl Club and Expression Tees to bring you guys this post! They sent me the cutest shirt that is all soft and comfy, so a huge shoutout to them! This is such a wonderful initiative to share some love and empowerment, and a great opportunity to share some things that are important to me.

To be honest, I find it really difficult to be personal online. In real life, this wouldn’t be an issue at all because I love getting to know people and sharing stories, but here it’s sterile and unfeeling and I hope I don’t sound insincere or insensitive. ‘Good vibes‘ here is how I want to be seen as a person, someone who radiates joy and positive energy, someone who is bouncy and enthusiastic and so so filled with life. But the past two years have not been particularly smooth sailing, and sometimes life, and people, are not kind. Life can be a cacophony of awful voices yelling from different angles, a tedious, meticulous balancing act to please the people you meet along the way. I struggled with my friendships, my family, my relationship, sometimes all at once, all while trying to figure out how to do school. Sometimes, there’s a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes there isn’t. And many a times you have to figure out what’s worth getting upset over, and what isn’t.

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The thing is, we are all fallible, and a reliance on the people around you for acceptance, happiness and contentment isn’t always going to work out. Only when you learn to respect yourself and to love yourself, good vibes is not simply circumstantial, but a choice. “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” This quote always reminds me that how I feel today is a choice I can make, but over the past two years, I’ve also compiled a mental list of things I could do that would make me happy. Ultimately, these aren’t long term solutions to whatever problem you are facing, but sometimes a coping mechanism can help you from feeling down in the dumps.

  1. Have a self-appointed dance party, by yourself. So over the years I’ve compiled a playlist of upbeat, ‘trashy’ music I can either dance to, or I know all the words to. Whenever I feel upset, or I just need to be perked up, I close the door and grab my hairbrush or whatever and I have a mini dance party for like, ten minutes. Embarrassing, I know.
  2. Read. Reading has always been one of my greatest joys and my parents got so annoyed at the sheer number of books I would go through in one sitting that they got me a kindle so I wouldn’t have to buy physical copies anymore. I gravitate towards quirky, non-fiction/self-help books now and it helps me take my mind off a lot of issues that are bothering me. Sort of immersing myself into a whole new dimension where you focus on other people’s problems instead of your own, I suppose. Some recent favourites are The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan (SO GOOD) and this little book on how to be mindful.
  3. Write. I write a lot. I keep this list of things that captivate me throughout my day, random thoughts and ideas mushed together in a list, a truly blissful, unorganised mess. Then when I feel inspired, bored, tired or unhappy, I take this list out and turn it into stories and poems and song lyrics. Being all pretentiously poetic does make me feel a sense of satisfaction. Sometimes, I do this thing where I write out what is currently happening in my life, but as a story, where someone else is experiencing these things instead of me. Then I explore what happens down the road in an imaginative, fictional sense that can be quite gratifying.
  4. Draw. I love fashion illustration, I used to do that a lot on the side when I had spare time, but now it’s generally reserved for days when I really do have extra time, or when I need to occupy myself with something other than my thoughts. I would grab my favourite looks from the most recent fashion week, or choose a certain designer’s work to illustrate, then I’ll spend the day with pencils and watercolours till I’m satisfied with my work. Sometimes I experiment with digital illustrations and design, but I’m still exploring that front.
  5. Play music. I would learn how to play a song on the guitar from YouTube, or learn how to play angry, angsty songs on the piano. It really allows a weight to be lifted off one’s shoulders when you express yourself through sound. On one hand, it makes me happier because I learnt something new, and on the other hand it makes me equally happy to channel all my angst into a piece that’s meant to sound loud, so I don’t seem like I’m bashing the piano on purpose. But I am. Even if you don’t play the piano, have a listen to songs like Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor by Chopin or Montagues and Capulets by Prokofiev.
  6. Run. If you’re metaphorically running away from your problems, why not literally run too? Just kidding, but I started running more often this year as a way to cope with stress. It’s a great activity that doesn’t take very long, and helps you take your mind off things to appreciate the greenery and sights around you, or to appreciate how your legs and arms and lungs still work good. Besides, it releases a good dose of oxytocin and endorphins in your body, natural hormones that would make you feel happier or something like that.
  7. Treat yourself. Online window shopping, a cone of ice cream, new highlighters that you don’t really need but they’re in pretty shades of pastel. Cheap thrills exist, and when you’re down in the dumps go treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t do, or eat something delicious.

Not going to lie, there are definitely still going to be days when I don’t want to be rational and I’ll sit there and sulk and wallow in the depths of self-pity. But ultimately, this list always helps me to realise that there is so much more to do, learn and explore than the problems I face then and there. Once again, thank you so much to Girls Girl Club and Expression Tees for including me in this special initiative to inspire and empower girls around the globe through positivity, do check them out!

 

 

Mom Jeans Hack

Firstly, I just want to thank all you lovely people for reading this, truly!! All your support and encouragement makes me feel all warm and fluffy and pushes me towards the edge of my imagination and creativity! Every single week ,the weekend gets me so pumped up and I’m always so stoked to watch my vision come alive through styling, shooting, editing and writing. Besides, I feel like I’m using procrastination from studying quite productively heh. Feel free to tell me which looks you love, or what improvements I can make, and I’ll be more than happy to listen!

I’ve been quite taken with the slouchy chic look recently, although I don’t think I’m brave enough to venture out into the world of really baggy jeans and oversized outerwear yet. However, I do have a few pairs of jeans always stuffed at the back of my closet, folded nicely, never touched. You see, I’ve never really grown any taller (only fatter hehe) ever since I reached the age of 14, so I’ve had some baggy, boot cut jeans trendy eons ago that I never ever chose to wear. Besides, I think they were hand-me-downs and I couldn’t fit into them properly then.

So thank goodness my mom never threw them out and they just remained at the back of my closet, rotting away for fashion to make a u-turn and revive them. Boot cut still isn’t really in, and mind you even when I wear these jeans now, the hem still touches the floor (short people problems!!). But rolling up the hem a few times tightly around the ankles does wonders, giving you the ‘mom’ jeans, cropped style, slouchy look instantly. I paired them with some brown oxfords/heels, a crop top to balance out the proportions and a light coat to deal with the insane heat-and-airconditioning transitions throughout the day. Wileen, my youngest sister, makes an appearance here too and her style is so rad, wish I was that fashionable when I was her age. Enjoy!

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The Midi Skirt Edit

Hooray for midi skirts!!

Skirts hold a certain significance to me. They mark a time long ago when I was first allowed to make my own forays into the vast world of fashion, the tight rein of my mother slowly loosening. Don’t get me wrong- I love her, but when I was younger she chose all my outfits because she thought getting ready to go out would be a faster process. Looking back, some of her choices could be deemed quite questionable (black and white striped three-quarter leggings as pants, anyone?).

Gradually, my own preferences seeped through her screening process during shopping trips and I got to experiment with style. I remember getting her permission to purchase this deep fuschia, ruffled mini skirt (they had been the utmost rage that summer) and that skirt was the proudest item in my closet for a while. I thought I looked very chic in it! But it was in skirts when I felt a little fancier, a little more twirly and glamorous.

Now skirts are way beyond a rite of passage, but they still make me feel the way I did whenever I wore that fuschia skirt. Of course, nowadays I have a much wider variety to choose from. In the impossibly warm madness I live at, skirts are airy and breezy and just amazing for the year round heat. However, mini skirts can be a bit too short for my liking, maxi skirts are too warm. Hence, I often opt for the glorious midi in different styles for an extra dash of fancy, and the main dash of keeping cool (both literally and figuratively). Here are three ways to style the a-line midi skirt!!

1. FIRST LOOK

Pleated midi skirt + geometric top + sporty sneakers

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2. SECOND LOOK

wide pleats + cami + heels

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3. THIRD LOOK

Floral midi + choker cut top + combat boots

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The Three Way Bandana

The most hippie chic I can ever get?

Grandma decided to go back to her old apartment recently and she took out a few pieces of clothing that haven’t seen the sun in a long, long time. She lugged her loot back home and laid them out on the floor to separate what she wanted to keep and which had had its time. This ‘vintage-y’ scarf caught my eye; it has bright orange edges and beautiful detailing on the inside. This is why I love fashion. Despite the whirlwind turnovers in trends and the seemingly never-ending chase to be in style, specific trends always seem to make an appearance in cycles. The chokers and crop tops that sprung from the 90s have made a huge comeback today, and that beautiful bandana grandma probably got in her younger days is now stylish once again. AND I can call it ‘vintage’.

The neck scarf, the bandana, the neckerchief. It has rocked street styles more recently and it is oh so very versatile. Some pattern and some colour can easily add detail to a basic outfit, or even add a personalized touch to an accessory. Here are three of my favourite ways to wear it!

First Look

Mixed Prints:  Hippie Chic

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Kind of like a bandana crown, pair it with another detailed printed top or a dress, pair it with ginormous gold earrings and there! Hippie queen.

Second Look

Around the neck:  Jetsetter vibes

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The basic white top, denim jacket. Jazz it up with the bandana around your neck, tied or untied.

Third Look

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I wear the bandana like this the most often! Not very garish or gaudy, but just enough of a subtle pop!

Hence, go forth and raid your grandma’s closet! And if you find some great stuff, well, I told you so 😉

The Choker Edit

I really hate chokers. It’s probably not going to help my case here, but I remember despising them ever since they were popular in the early 2000’s. There was a phase when my sister and I were toddlers and my mother would make jewelry for us and take photos of us wearing these bridal-esque veils, fake daisies in hand, and these dainty glass beaded necklaces and bracelets. Then came the dreaded chokers. Her’s were meticulously beaded and the designs were so detailed and gorgeous, but I hated wearing them with a passion, even if it was only for a few minutes. I recall being all dramatic about it and I was only 5 or 6, claiming that they hurt my throat or something.

Now it’s all different. The chokers have made a victorious comeback, and I could not be bothered to catch up with the trend at first. I was quite adamant about not paying for an accessory that made you feel like CHOKING, no thank you. And after all, it’s just string around your neck, why I would pay for that was quite beyond me.

But after I bought this black top that had a choker cut (not really a neck wrangling choker, just the cut), I found myself falling for the choker. Its simplicity and class could elevate one’s outfit if worn just right, it could be sweet, it could be edgy. So fine, after the choker cut top became a staple in my closet, I grudgingly saw the appeal of the choker. Maybe, just maybe, my neck could stand feeling slightly tortured for a few hours for the sake of aesthetics. But I still didn’t want to pay for string around my neck. So here’s the simplest DIY ever and will only take you a minute tops, for three different kinds of chokers.

You will need:

  • Velvet string, thick and thin. You can find these at craft shops such as Spotlight.
  • 3 gold/silver jump rings (the kind for jewelry making purposes)

FIRST LOOK

jump ring embellishment + long ribbon behind

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  1. Take three jump rings
  2. String them through the velvet
  3. Take the end of the velvet ribbon and string it through the first jump ring that went in
  4. Pull the two ends of the ribbon and it should look like this:ALP_4423

SECOND LOOK

a few rounds around the neck + ribbon

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THIRD LOOK

literally just tied a knot

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This post just amuses me so because it really can’t get any lazier/easier than this! Go forth now, ignore that choking feeling around the neck, go make your own chokers!!

Bugis Explorations

Mocks ended recently and for all you IB kids out there, you all understand how hard this is!! I finally had the time to do some city exploration with my amazing photographer friend, Inés, and scouted out some cool places. Albeit it was a little shady, and not weather wise, but when you find a spot with loads of huge garbage bins and cars parked haphazardly everywhere and it’s good, it’s a winner! We did so much walking and got lost finding our way back from Arab Street/Haji Lane, but thank God for google maps. Also, happy racial harmony day! Always a good opportunity to appreciate and understand other cultures, and to also educate yourself about cultural appropriation, a post on that up soon! Here’s a nice bunch of photos from our day, enjoy!!

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Poolside Jam

Just came back from Malaysia, and it was such a refreshing and much needed break from all the chaos I call studying. Didn’t get to explore the city because we were there for a church retreat, but managed to take some shameless photos at the pool and dayum shoutout to my sister Winna because she is really the bomb at photography!! Thank God for bringing us there and back safely, it was indeed an exhausting, but crazy fun couple of days there. Back to hit the books, but here are some nice photos!

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